wifey wednesday

It’s Wednesday, the day when we talk marriage! I introduce a topic, and then you follow up either by commenting or by writing your own post and then linking up!

Twenty years ago today I did the smartest thing I’ve ever did. I married my husband.

I had no idea what I was getting into. I had always heard that marriage was hard, but I thought that didn’t apply to us, because we were really IN LOVE. And what was my definition of being in love? You should never have to work at the relationship. If you’re in love, the relationship should flow and work naturally. No real effort should be required, because you should both be blissfully happy together.

That lasted for a whole 3 hours, I think, and then reality hit. Marriage is hard.

It is not that you don’t love each other; it is that we enter marriage with such fragile egos, and we want the other person to show us that we are worthwhile; that we are loveable; that we are fundamentally good. And often the way we measure this is by the amount of effort we should have to put into the marriage. If we have to work at it, that means he doesn’t really love me. That means he’s doing something wrong. That means he fundamentally doesn’t accept me.

Thankfully, God showed me that this wasn’t the case. Working at a marriage doesn’t mean the love isn’t real; it just means you both have growing to do. And marriage is a wonderful vehicle to teach you about selflessness.

Over the years we’ve had several really difficult periods in our marriage. The first few years were hard because we were still getting adjusted to being married, and we didn’t really have a honeymoon period. It was tough from the start. In fact, I don’t think our honeymoon period hit until about 6 years into marriage, after our babies had been born.

We had a rough patch when our son was born in 1996, and lived for only 29 days. But it wasn’t a strain on our marriage; it was just a very, very sad time. In fact, it was our marriage that made it possible to get through it so well.

When Katie, our youngest, was a baby, life was also tough and our relationship a little strained. Katie just decided sleep was superfluous. She slept nine hours over the entire day–naps included. And she wasn’t really grumpy. But I was so sleep deprived functioning normally was impossible, and at the same time Keith was studying for his final exams in pediatrics. Life was stressful.

But you know what? Those times pass. Babies grow up. New jobs are begun. And life looks better again. In the midst of those hard times it’s sometimes hard to see that they won’t last forever, but they really don’t. And then life gets so much better.

Until…about 4 years ago we had another rough patch, and to this day I have no idea why. Neither does Keith. But we had a year when we just weren’t getting along, for no good reason. We had just moved, and after a year of fighting over nothing, Keith prayed through our new house without telling me, and the fighting stopped. Take from that what you will, but it was around the same time as we were really getting going with marriage ministry, and youth ministry. From the Christian perspective, we were under attack.

Our lives have been a series of hills and valleys, and right now I’d say we were on a hill, because we’re getting along so well. But what I’m finding is that, after twenty years of learning how to compromise, and love each other, even when we’re having difficulties in our own lives–from being too busy, or under fire at work–we still get along so well. We’re able to weather the storms more easily, because we’ve done it before, and we know that neither of us is going anywhere. And we know that we are so much stronger together.

Keith really is my best friend. I tell him everything. If I want to talk, I talk to him. I could say that I love waking up in the morning next to him, but the truth is he’s usually out of bed before I am, so I usually wake up alone. But he kisses me before he leaves in the morning, and that starts my day off right.

I am so grateful for my marriage, especially around the Christmas holidays. We don’t have the drama of shared custody, or who gets the kids when, or who is getting what for them for Christmas. We’re together. The kids don’t have to move from house to house; they’re secure. And that’s such a blessing for them.

I know I have a fantastic marriage, and my friends are always telling me how lucky I am. And I am lucky. I married well. I chose well. I married my best friend, someone who truly brings out the best in me.

Yet one thing I’ve learned is that even if you choose well you will still have difficulties. That’s a given. What’s not so sure is how you will get through those difficulties. I’m finding them so much easier to navigate now, because I’m not as invested in being right, or being comforted, or being the one who wins. Now I just want to build closer intimacy, and that’s a really good place to be.

So on this twentieth anniversary, I’m so grateful for my marriage. I hope we share many, many more anniversaries. And I want to assure you that if you persevere through the difficulties, you will emerge stronger. And life is so much better together.

Why I Love My Husband   Linking up to Happy Wives’ Club first ever link up party!

Now, what advice do you have for us today? Write your own Wifey Wednesday post that links back to here, and then leave the link of THAT POST in the Mcklinky below. Thanks!